When The Solution Focused Approach Is Not Working

Posted by Elliott Connie - October 25, 2019 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

One of the questions that many professionals tend to ask, is what do you do when the Solution Focused Approach doesn’t appear to be working. While teaching in Colorado I heard someone give a brilliant answer to that question and I wanted to share it with you in this video.

So look, I’m here teaching in Denver, Colorado and I heard
this really, really cool thing that’s a response to something that, um, people
ask me all the time. And um, one of the things that happens is people, when you
learn Solution Focused Brief Therapy, which is such a new and different way of
working with people, you start inherently thinking about scenarios and places
and different types of clients with that this approach would not work with. And
people will often ask, like, what do you do when Solution Focused Brief Therapy
is not working? Do you ever say to your clients that, like, “I may not be
the right therapist for you” and, like, refer the client away. So the
other day here in Colorado, someone asked me that question and someone in the
audience gave such a beautiful answer that I wanted to share it with you
because it answers that question better than I’ve ever heard or better than
I’ve ever been able to answer myself.

So, this client came to see this therapist and um, they
didn’t feel like that therapy was progressing. They were doing Solution Focused
Brief Therapy and they didn’t feel like the therapy was progressing. So they
asked the client, “Are you benefiting from this therapy?, and if not,
maybe I’m not the therapist for you and you should go off and see another
therapist”. And the client said to the therapist, “I know you feel
like that this is not making a difference, but what you don’t see is after I
leave therapy, I have four days of being really, really up. And then the last
three days of the week are really difficult. Then I come back to therapy. And
what you didn’t see is when we first started working together, I only had one
day of being up and after seeing you for a while, one day turned into two days
of being up and then two days turned into three days being so on and so

And she said, “One day, maybe I’ll get it to seven
days. So by the time I come back to see you, I’ll still be up. But please don’t
judge me by the fact that you see me in my down moments.” And I thought, Oh
my God, like, that addresses it, and that explains it, because I honestly have
never even thought even once when I was working with a client that like, this
therapy is not working and I need to send them to someplace else because you
just spend all of your energy working on asking the next question and realizing
that my job as a therapist is to ask the next question and and until the next
question provokes an answering the client, until makes difference to them we
just keep doing our job. And if I were to say to this client, like, I don’t
think you’re progressing, maybe we should talk about doing other things or
sending you to another therapist, you are actually not accurate.

The client actually was progressing but it was progression
that was happening outside of the presence of the psychotherapist. So thus, the
psychotherapist didn’t see it or feel it. And I think, I think that’s like, the
key, right? Like, you have to trust this process. You have to trust the client
and you just have to do your job, which is just asking the next question in the
sequence. And when you do that, clients tend to know and do what’s best for
them and they get on with life in a way that is congruent to them living a
better life. And if the client doesn’t scream, she was helpful. They’re
perfectly capable of getting rid of you and going to see another therapist. But
as long as the client is seeing you, it is your job to ask one more question in
the hopes that the client will give an answer that will make a difference in
their life.

So try, I know it’s hard, guys. I know it’s hard, but try
when you start learning about Solution Focused Brief Therapy to stop trying to
think of scenarios where it wouldn’t work and realize that it just works and
it’s our job to ask one more question in the sequence. When you do that job,
clients lives get better. So thank you. I’ve got to get back in there and go
back to teaching. I’ve had a wonderful week in Colorado here thus far. I’m
heading home for the evening. I’m heading home at the end of evening. I’m super
excited about that. I have been home for a while, but in the meantime, fist
bump and please like this video, share this video, leave a comment below. I’d
love to hear your thoughts. Head on over to www.elliottconnie.com, subscribe to
my YouTube channel and click that little bell to make sure you get
notifications when I post videos and I will see you next time.

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